Cataclysmic Variables in the First Year of the Zwicky Transient Facility

Paula Szkody, Brooke Dicenzo, Anna Y. Q. Ho, Lynne A. Hillenbrand, Jan van Roestel, Margaret Ridder, Isabel DeJesus Lima, Melissa L. Graham, Eric C. Bellm, Kevin Burdge, Thomas Kupfer, Thomas A. Prince, Frank J. Masci, Przemyslaw J. Mroz, V. Zach Golkhou, Michael Coughlin, Virginia A. Cunningham, Richard Dekany, Matthew J. Graham, David HaleDavid Kaplan, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Adam A. Miller, James D. Neill, Maria T. Patterson, Reed Riddle, Roger Smith, Maayane T. Soumagnac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using selection criteria based on amplitude, time, and color, we have identified 329 objects as known or candidate cataclysmic variables (CVs) during the first year of testing and operation of the Zwicky Transient Facility. Of these, 90 are previously confirmed CVs, 218 are strong candidates based on the shape and color of their light curves obtained during 3-562 days of observation, and the remaining 21 are possible CVs but with too few data points to be listed as good candidates. Almost half of the strong candidates are within 10 deg of the galactic plane, in contrast to most other large surveys that have avoided crowded fields. The available Gaia parallaxes are consistent with sampling the low mass transfer CVs, as predicted by population models. Our follow-up spectra have confirmed Balmer/helium emission lines in 27 objects, with four showing high-excitation He ii emission, including candidates for an AM CVn, a polar, and an intermediate polar. Our results demonstrate that a complete survey of the Galactic plane is needed to accomplish an accurate determination of the number of CVs existing in the Milky Way.

Original languageEnglish
Article number198
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2020
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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